2026: KEEP SAFE YEAH?

Last week a member of a writers group I attend set an exercise for the group even though we aren’t meeting at the moment. It was to write a piece of about a thousand words on the idea of a ‘prediction’ six years post Covid. He provided a first phrase: ‘It was year PV 0007…’ which I have taken to heart but left out. What follows is most certainly not a prediction, but rather an irreverent imagining of what might happen if government of the UK fractured under the strain. I apologise for the ‘patois’ I’m bound to have got things ‘wrong’, but remember this is the future so I am ‘right’ after all!

 

2026

Somewhere in South London

Evening.

 

The man with the gun let Hancks into the room.

‘Wotcha Spango, awright?’Hancks said.

‘Wotcha? Wotcha? Nobody’s said Wotcha since forevs. Like before the Cov. What the effin ell’s up with you?’

‘Lightening the mood bruv, innit?’ Hancks said, hanging his head and avoiding eye contact.

‘Want it darker fam, like white dark.’

‘S’up with Spango?’

‘Brickin it inne?’

‘Fuck off Nods.’ Spango said, checking himself in a mirror.

‘Why? S’only a vlog post.’

‘Cos,’ said Nods, ‘e’s been on the Spice and e’s still all wavey.’

‘Where’d  you get that Spangs?’

‘Treasury, they got loads man.’ Nods said.

‘I ain’t been takin nuffink you nob.’ Spango rolled his shoulders. ‘Need to be tight’

‘S’a vlog post. You can do it again you get it wrong. S’not live.’

‘Why in’t he doin it live.’ Hancks asked.

‘Cos e’s bricking it.’

‘Fuck off you great wazza.’ Spango punched Nods. ‘S’important. People gotta trust me. Gotta be done right.’

Nods nodded and fiddled with the controls on the console.

‘And he wants music and effects.’

‘Oooh! Get ‘er!’

Spango stuck a finger up at Hancks.

‘Shut it right. I’m going to do it now. Okay Nods?’

‘Yeah go in three, two, one.’ He pointed a finger at Spango who began to speak.

‘People of South England. Good evening, I…’

‘E can’t say that.’ Hancks whispered at an enormous volume.

‘What the f…’ Spango exploded.

Nods toggled a switch and shook his head.

‘It’s a vlog innit?’ Hancks said.

‘I know it’s a fucking vlog. So effin what? I haven’t said anything yet.’ Spango screeched.

‘You said “Good evening”. What if they’s watching in the afternoon?’

Nods creased up laughing.

‘It doesn’t matter when they watch it. It’s evening now innit? It’s when it’s made counts.’ Spango explained.

‘I’d think it was well weird the Prime Minister saying “Evening” in the middle of the day, me. I’d think you’d lost it bro.’

‘Well nobody’s arxing you is they? So shut it yeh.’ Spango looked at Nods. ‘Need it from the top or run on is it?’

‘Just read man, I’ll splice it.’

Spango looked into the webcam again. ‘And you interrupt again I’ll have you office spaced you twattin bozak.’

Hancks sneered but shut up.

Nods did the three two one bit again and Spango went on.

‘I am speaking to you tonight to let you all know that my cabinet and I is thinking about letting you all out a bit. We have had only a few deaths this last week and we knows you is all cooped up and that. It is like six months since we let people out without offing anyone if they went out so we think it’s worth a shot.’

Spango took a breath and looked at Nods and Hancks. ‘Okay?’ he mouthed. They gave him a thumbs up. ‘That was bangin, Bossman!’ Nods said.

Spango smiled and carried on.

‘So from midnight tonight I am telling all… What now!?’ he yelled at Hancks.

‘Look bruv I don’t want no Babylon beating on me, but what midnight? I mean is that “tonight” tonight or “tonight” when it gets posted or “tonight” when they watches it?’

Spango’s eyes got really wide and his hands balled up into fists, but before he could scream at the door guards to take Hancks out and beat him up, Nods spoke.

‘Nah he’s right. I mean you gotta be precise. You don’t want no mandem thinkin “skate park time” and getting slotted cos it’s the wrong midnight.’

Spango’s fists unclenched.

‘Right. Carry on.’ Spango took a breath.

‘So from midnight on March 20 2026 all police and army will allow anyone with a ID app on their mobile to be out on the street from eight in the morning to 6 at night. If that goes okay for three weeks, we’ll see about extending that and I’ll get back to you. Keep safe bros.’

Spango stared into the camera with the hint of a smile on his lips and then Nods waved his hand across his throat to let everyone know he’d stopped recording.

‘Good?’

‘Well good bro.’

‘You want to skin up?’ Hancks asked.

‘Nah, I gotta to talk to Treasury now.’

Hancks and Nods folded over laughing.

‘Nah, no effin Spice you wasters. I gotta see if we is still skint after being Rishi’d.’

‘Whole world’s been Rishi’d man.’ Said Hancks.

‘Yeah well I gotta do a deal with some Northerners, get some jabs innit? Gonna need bare loot for that. Keep my people safe you know?’ Spango ducked his head to show how serious it was.

‘Yeah, can’t long it no more. Gotta get some.’ Nods agreed. ‘I’ll splice this up and get the tekkers to put some banging sounds on it yeah?’

‘Yeah, cool.’

‘You want Beeb South lined up for it?’ Hancks asked.

‘Yeah, bitches gotta be good for somethin.

‘Bozza know you is coming? Don’t want his people offin you cos you ain’t from their ends bruv.’ Hancks looked worried.

‘We doin it on the bridge. He stays north of the river. I stay south.’

‘Wear a mask man.’

‘A mask? I ain’t on the run bruv. I run everything south of the river. Bossman yeh? Pigs are mine now.’

Nah fam! A mask. He’s had it. Effin carrier now.’

‘You had it same time Hancks, you is okay.’

‘Can’t trust him though man. He had it real bad. Wear a mask.’

Spango nodded and went to talk to Treasury.

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